AN: Thank you so much for those who gave the positive feedback! I'm so glad that most of you are really enjoying my story and when you I get the reviews that say that you all do, it encourages me even more to write! So, thanks so much and I am glad that you are enjoying the story. Let's move on to the next chapter shall we?
Shaking? Why the hell am I shaking? One minute I'm walking down the street hand in hand with Edward, in a place that looked a lot like Port Angeles, and we were talking and having a great time until I started shaking. Then my visual of Edward suddenly started to melt away, along with my surroundings and all I could here was a high pitched voice calling out to me. That's when I realized I was sleeping and someone was waking me up. And that someone was… Alice.
"Bella! Come on!" I heard her annoyed voice say, "I know you're awake now so open up them eyes of yours already!"
"Alice…" I heard Edward sigh, "Leave her alone. She's obviously tired so leave her be and let her rest!"
"But I want to talk to her!" She said, "Besides, everyone should be getting here any minute now!"
That caught my attention. I opened up my eyes to see Alice standing next to the bed and Edward was sitting down by my legs. I sighed and asked, "Who's everyone Alice?"
It was quiet comical the way they both suddenly turned their heads in my direction, I couldn't help but laugh. Alice sighed and rolled her eyes dramatically, "Finally! We've been trying to wake you up for at least fifteen minutes already! Rose, Jasper, and Brandon are coming over. We have a lot to discuss regarding what happened and how you are back into our lives. And I admit they were pretty pissed when we told them that you were back."
I sighed and sat myself up into a sitting position, "I could have told you that they would be Alice. Maybe we should just give them some time and let them decide for themselves whether or not they want to be friends with me again."
"That's why they are coming over Bella." Alice said and sat herself pristinely down onto the floor. "They want to hear what you have to say and they are curious as to why Edward, Emmett and I accepted your friendship back so easily."
Edward grabbed my hand and squeezed it before saying, "We didn't tell them much just that we listened to what you had to say and we accepted it. So, we thought it would be best if you explained everything to them. They are mad at you Bella, but that doesn't mean that they still don't care about you."
I nodded my head and squeezed his hand back. I was suddenly getting very nervous about talking to them all again. Especially to…
"Wait a minute." I said suddenly, "Eli didn't want to come, did she?"
Alice answered me, "Well, she wasn't at school today. Brandon said that he thinks she caught the flu that has been going around."
"Oh." I said and looked down at mine and Edward's entwined hands. I was a little bit relieved that I didn't have to face her today. But, I was anxious to see how everyone was going to react when I told them what she did. There was suddenly a slight knock on the door frame and we all looked up to see Emmett standing there.
"Everyone is waiting in the living room and they talked Mike and Angela into coming also." He said and gave a slight smile. It didn't quiet seem like his usual happy go lucky smiles so I knew he was probably nervous as well. Especially with the fact that Rose was Emmett's girlfriend and now he is friends again with a girl that she probably hates now.
"Alright, thanks Emmett." Edward said and looked at Alice, "Can you tell everyone that we will be down in a minute. I wanted to speak with Bella a lone for a sec."
She stood up fluidly and said, "Sure. But don't take too long please. I think the sooner we get everything situated, the sooner all this tension in the group will go away."
"We will only be a minute." Edward said. She nodded her head and walked over to me to give me a quick hug before she followed Emmett out the door.
Edward waited until he couldn't hear them any more before he turned to me and said, "Bella, I know you are nervous about talking to them. But, I really think that it will be okay once you do."
"I know." I said and added, "I just… I'm scared because I basically have to tell them that Eli lied to them. What if they think I'm just trying to turn her against them or something?"
"We have evidence Bella." He said and grabbed my other hand with his own, "Alice has the note that you and Eli wrote to each other. If they won't believe your own words then they are going to have to believe Eli's written down on paper." He said reassuringly.
I sighed, "I just wish that none of this ever happened. Sometimes I even wish I never met you guys because me being here… it just seems like it's tearing you guys apart."
Edward reached up and cupped my face in his hand. I looked up into his torn eyes and immediately regretted saying what I did. "Bella, don't say that. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, even better than Carlisle taking me in, and I love you so much Bella. When you didn't want to talk to us anymore, I was so broken; I didn't know what to do. I couldn't ever stay mad at you for it though and somewhere deep down, I knew that you were doing it for some insane reason."
"I love you too Edward but I don't see how me wanting to protect all of you is insane. I've put you all in so much danger and me being here with all of you isn't helping that situation any." I said.
"Bella, you are in more danger being on your own than being surrounded by all of us." He said and brought his hand back down to grab mine. "All of us being together will probably scare her away because she won't be able to get to you unless you are alone. In fact, you probably were giving her exactly what she wanted when you pushed us all away. So don't do that Bella. Don't let her win this. As long as we stick together, even if Jasper, Rose, or Brandon don't want to, you still have Alice, Emmett, and I. Okay?"
I nodded my head, knowing that he was right. But, it still didn't help with the fact that we were all at risk of being in danger.
"Well, are you ready to face the music?" He asked with a slight smile and leaned over to kiss my forehead. "We should head down before Alice sends a search party for us."
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be." I said and gave him a smile of my own. He let go of one hand but still held on to the other as he helped me off the bed. We walked out of the room and down the stairs in silence. The only thing reassuring my feet to keep moving to the living room as Edward's hand squeezing my own in comfort. As we rounded the corner I looked up to see Mike sitting next to Rose who had herself perched on Emmett's lap on one couch, Jasper and Alice were holding hands on the other, and Brandon was sitting on the floor in front of their couch with his legs spread out and Angela was sat in between said legs. I almost smiled, happy to see that their relationship seemed to be getting stronger already.
Everyone was quiet and seemed to be lost in their own thoughts but as soon as Edward and I stepped foot into the living room, everyone's heads turned. Rose, looked at me with such hatred, I wanted to let go of Edward's hand and run for the hills. Jasper looked at me with no emotion, and I didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing but it certainly didn't feel good. Brandon and Angela both looked up at me from their spot on the floor. They both gave me a slight smile which I happily returned, glad to see that they didn't seem too unpleased with me at least. And of course, Emmett and Alice were both flat out smiling at me. Alice let go of Jaspers hand and walked over to where Edward and I stood. She grabbed my other hand and gave it a squeeze before turning her attention to everyone else in the room.
"Bella would like to explain to you all why she hasn't wanted to talk to any of us. As we told you all earlier, Edward, Emmett, and I have heard what she had to say and we think she did what she did for a very good reason and…" Alice started to say but was cut off.
"Good reason?" Rose said with a scoff. "What possibly could have been a good reason? Isn't it obvious? She doesn't care about any of us. Can't you see that she's just using you guys? She's only here because she doesn't want to be killed by that woman. If she wasn't being hunted by her, I'm sure she would be happier alone."
"Rose!" Emmett said and grabbed the bridge of his nose much like Edward. "We already talked about this. Please, just let Bella get her side of the story out before you start judging her."
Rose scoffed again before she folded her arms across her chest, "Fine. But if I don't like what she has to say or I don't believe it, then I am leaving because there is no way I'm going to stay in the same house as her."
"Alright then let her speak." Alice said annoyed and she led both Edward and I over to the couch to sit next to Jasper while she took a spot perched on top of the arm rest. I sat there a second, staring at the hand that she no longer held onto. How the hell was I going to start this conversation? How was I going to tell everyone that their friend has lied to them about me? Would they believe me? I felt Edward squeeze my hand gently which cause me to look up. He smiled at me encouragingly and kissed my knuckles lightly. I smiled back before I turned to the furious and curious gazes in the room.
"First of all, I want to apologize to each and every one of you. I know that you're not happy with me right now and you all have every right not to be, but I hope that I can at least gain some of your forgiveness. What I did, I realized was not the way to go about things but I did so because… I was scared." I said with a sigh and looked back down at my hands.
"What were you scared of?" Jasper asked curiously. I looked up at him, surprised that he spoke to me. His face was still set in indifference but I could still see a kindness in his eyes. At least I haven't lost him completely yet.
"I was scared that if I continued to be friends with you guys, Victoria would see how much you all mean to me. And since I was basically the reason why she lost the person that meant the most to her, then she would want to take that away from me also. So, I thought that if I pushed you guys away, she would see that I wasn't close to you guys anymore and then you wouldn't be in danger." I said.
"Well, I think that makes sense." Angela said and smiled at me, "I know I don't speak for everyone here, but I can see why you did it and I think it was brave of you to isolate yourself like that when you could have been putting yourself into even more danger."
"I agree." Brandon said and smiled at me. Mike said the same thing, even though I could tell he wasn't really that upset with me in the first place.
Jasper reached over and patted my hand and I was happy to see him smiling again, "I couldn't have said that better myself. But you know that we are all here for you Bella. We'll make sure nothing happens to you or any one of us."
"Oh cut the crap!" We all turned to see Rose slide off of Emmett's lap. "Can't you see this is just a stupid trick to get you all to accept her back again? Are you all that blind that you can't see that it's all a lie? Well I can! Let's not forget what Eli said. She told us that Bella hated all of us and that we pretty much ruined her lives! She blamed Edward for the whole Victoria thing for crying out loud! Does that sound like someone who was just 'trying' to push us away for safety?"
I took a deep breathe and said, "Rose, what Eli told all of you… it was all a lie. I never told her any of those things. All I said was I wanted to be left alone! That's it. There was no blame game going on and I certainly never said that I hated any of you guys."
Rose's face turned from angry to absolute rage within only a few seconds that it made me cringe and I could almost feel the flames burning me from her firey look.
"You're telling me, that Eli… ELI…. Our friend that we've been friends with for a hell of a lot longer than you, LIED to all of us?" Rose yelled out, "YOU'RE THE LIAR!"
I stood there, staring at her fuming figure in shock and literally shaking. I almost didn't feel Edward putting his arm around my shoulder. I've never seen this girl so upset before and it scared the living crap out of me. If it wasn't for everyone else in the room yelling at her to calm down and for Emmett's tight grip around her waist to keep her from lunging at me, I'm pretty sure she would have killed me by now. But, it still did not stop her from trying to wiggle her way out of his grip and the profanities were still coming from her mouth at me.
"ROSALIE HALE! YOU STOP THIS SHIT RIGHT NOW!" Emmett's loud voice boomed through out the living room. It made me jump ten feet into the air and everyone stopped and stared at him in shock. Rose, immediately stopped and turned her attention to a livid looking Emmett.
"What did you say to me?" Rose said almost too quiet for all of us to hear. Emmett let go of her and she stood there with her arms crossed staring up at him, "You've fallen for her lies too haven't you? How could you Emmett! You're supposed to support me! Not her!"
"Rose just stop it already!" He said annoyed, "Bella is not lying and we can even prove it to you all!"
"Oh yeah, and how the hell are you going to do that?" Rose said and turned her hated gaze back at me, "You don't deserve our forgiveness so this better be good!"
"Rose, it's true." Alice said as she walked over to her and grabbed what looked like the note from out of her pocket. "Eli told us all that Bella told her she didn't want to talk to any of us because she hated us and blamed us for ruining her life right?"
"Yeah, that's exactly what she said." Rose said in a 'duh' like manner.
Alice rolled her eyes at her behavior but continued on, "Bella gave this to me last night. She told me that she never said any of those things and that day in English class, they both wrote this note back and forth to each other. The only thing Bella says is that she just wanted to be left alone. There was nothing about hate in this letter and you can read it for yourself."
Rose snatched the letter out of her hand and began reading it. The more and more she read, the less anger showed on her model like face and it was being replaced by confusion. When she was done, she plopped down onto the couch with a perplexed expression and said, "I don't get it. Why the hell would Eli tell us all of those things then?"
"We don't know." Edward said softly, "Obviously there is something going on with Eli that none of us don't know about. But some of us were thinking that maybe she's jealous of mine and Bella's relationship so, she saw this as the perfect opportunity to split us up."
Rose sat there staring off into space nodding her head. Brandon came and sat down next to her and grabbed the letter out of her hands to read for himself.
"Well I don't know about you guys, but I'm just glad that Bella is back in our lives. We will figure out this whole Eli mess later but I think right now we need to focus on having Bella here and safe." Edward said and squeezed my shoulder before continuing, "We didn't tell you all but Bella had an intruder in her house yesterday while she was alone. The police think that Victoria was responsible and if Bella hadn't gotten out of there, who knows what would have happened."
"Oh my god." Angela gasped and came over to hug me, "I'm so glad that you are okay!"
"Thank you." I said Edward let go of me so I could hug her back.
When she let go I nearly jumped when I saw Rose standing in front of me. She had tears forming in her eyes before she launched herself at me and hugged me in a grip that could almost rival Emmett's. "Bella, I am so-so sorry! I should have never put the blame on you without hearing you out first. It's just, when someone hurts my friends… I get a little protective of them."
I giggle, "A little? Remind me to never cross you again. You scared the shit out of me."
Rose laughed lightly and pulled back, "I'm sorry about that. I just can't believe that Eli lied to us all. But, let's not dwell on it right now like Edward said. Let's just be happy that you are here back with us again."
She pulled back and walked over to Emmett who was finally smiling again and wrapped her arms around his torso, "And I'm so sorry I didn't believe you either babe."
"I know. I'm sorry you didn't believe me either." He said and stuck his tongue out at her. She laughed and smacked his chest lightly. Emmett then turned to me and said, "Now you know what I have to face every time she's on her period. Isn't it scary?"
"EMMETT!" Rose, Alice, and I said in unison as Rose smacked him not so gently this time on the chest. All of us girls turned and looked at one another and began to laugh. The weight that I felt on my shoulders was slowly beginning to lift and it started to feel like old times again.
"Well, I think it's safe to say welcome back Bella." Jasper said as he came up to me and gave me a small hug, "We've missed you around here and I'm glad we don't have to deal with a mopey Edward."
"Hey…" Edward started to say but I cut him off with a smile and turned to Jasper, "Thanks Jasper, I'm glad to be back too. I just hope that having you guys back in my life again won't cause any more danger to you guys."
"If does, so what." Alice said as she came up and entwined her arm through Jasper's. "We are all in this together Bella. Like we said, you have a better chance of staying safe yourself with all of us around."
"Yeah, the bitch won't want to mess with you. She's going to have to go through all of us and I for one don't think she's brave enough to do it. Especially since she only went after you when you were all alone." Rose said with a smile.
"See Bella." Edward said as he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waste. He leaned down and kissed the side of my neck, "We are all here no matter what. We would do the same for any one of us here because we care about each other enough to do so. We just got to make sure that no one is alone and I know that's not going to be a problem."
"Nope!" Alice said, "Not at all. We can come up with a plan to make sure neither one of us has to go anywhere or stay anywhere alone. That way it will discourage her from trying anything."
I nodded my head in agreement, "I would feel a lot better if we did do that. Like I told Edward and you guys; you all mean so much to me. If something were to happen to you all because of me, I don't know what I would do."
"Nothing's going to happen to us Bella." Emmett said, "We won't let it happen."
I smiled at him and just happened to look over at Brandon who was still sitting quietly on the couch looking at the letter in his hands. Angela was staring at him in concern and Mike was looking around at us all like he was bored. But, Brandon's behavior was starting to worry me and I soon too looked at him in concern.
"Brandon?" I asked and he seemed to snap out of whatever thoughts he was having as he looked up at me, "Are you alright?"
"What? Oh um, yeah." He said shaking his head and looked back down at the letter in his hands, "I just… I just can't believe Eli would lie to everyone. I guess I'm kind of shocked."
"None of us can believe it, but it's right there plain as day." Said Angela as she placed a comforting hand on his knee.
"I know…" He said and then looked up, "Uh, I think I'm going to head home guys. I'm kind of not feeling well right now."
"Are you sure you're okay?" Edward asked, his concern matching everyone else's in the room, well except for Mike of course.
"Yeah, I just think I might be coming down with what Bella and Elli had." He said with a slight smile and placed the letter down onto the coffee table in front of him, "Hopefully it's nothing though. You ready to go Ang?"
Angela patted his knee and stood up, "If you are then yes, I am."
"Alright sorry I'm cutting this short guys." He said and turned to Mike, "Did you want a ride home man?"
"Yes. Can you drop me off at my parent's store?" He asked as he stood up and grabbed his coat.
"Sure." He said and turned to all of us and gave everyone a short wave, "See yah all tomorrow hopefully."
Everyone said either "Ok" or "See yah later" while he headed to the door. Angela ran over quickly and gave me a quick hug before she joined Mike and Brandon at the door and with a quick wave at everyone from Angela, they were gone.
"Wow, poor guy." Emmett said as he plopped back down onto the couch with Rose, "Wonder is he's going to go home and talk to Eli about it."
"I don't know." Alice said with a frown. "I was hoping we could all confront her together."
"Maybe it will be best if Brandon tells her that we all know." Edward said from behind me, "Having all of us confront her at once might scare her off and all's we want to do is get the bottom of things."
"Yeah, I was hoping I could actually talk to her." I said with a sigh, "I was also hoping to be the one to help fix why she might have done it. It all has something to do with me obviously."
"Hmm… Bella might have a point." Rose said as she tapped her manicured nail against her chin.
"Rose! That's not helping any putting the blame on Bella. It's not her fault, whatever reason Eli did it for, it is Eli's fault and her fault alone." Alice said with reasoning.
"I'm not saying that it is Bella's fault. Just hear me out on this." Rose said and Alice raised her brows for her to continue, "Obviously, this does have something to do with Bella, so maybe if Brandon doesn't talk to Eli about it, then I think Bella should be the one to confront her."
"That makes sense." Jasper said and Alice nodded her head in agreement then turned to me, "Do you think you could do that Bella? Try and talk to her alone?"
I nodded my head, "Yeah, I kind of planned on it. But how am I going to be able to talk to her alone? I'm sure she's still mad at me."
"Alright." Alice said, "Well, tomorrow we will hopefully find out from Brandon and if he talked to her and if he didn't, then maybe we could trick her into coming here tomorrow after school. She doesn't know that we are talking to you again since she wasn't at school today so if she goes tomorrow, then we can play it off like we still aren't talking to each other."
"That could work." Rose said.
"Are you kidding me?" Edward asked with a dramatic sigh but I could tell he was doing it to be playful, "I finally got her back and you want me to not say anything to her all day tomorrow?"
"Oh poor baby!" Alice said and rolled her eyes at him, "You can survive a few hours of not talking!"
"He knows." I said and hugged his arms that were wrapped around me, "He's just teasing."
"Well, know that everything is settled and we know what we are going to do about the whole Eli thing, I say we lighten the mood by seeing if Esme would like to order some pizza's and watch some movies if Bella is up for it." Alice said excitedly as she bounced in place.
"I'm up for it." I said with a smile, "Especially the pizza. I finally got my full appetite back and that sounds absolutely amazing right now."
"Awesome!" Alice squealed, "I'll be right back. I'm going to talk to Esme!"
I giggled as I watched Alice prance out of the room. Edward led me over to the couch again where he sat me down. Once I was settled, he wrapped his arms around me and I leaned my head onto his shoulder. He kissed the top of my head as I gave way to a small sigh.
"I hope that's a content sigh." Edward said in my ear.
"Oh it is." I said with a smile. "A very happy and content sigh."
He hugged me closer to him and I felt him rest his cheek on the top of my head. I couldn't help the warm bubbly feeling that I felt every time I was wrapped up in Edward's arms. I felt so content, I almost forgot about the whole Victoria situation and the act we would have to put on for Eli tomorrow.
AN: Yay! Another one bites the dust! Well, I hope you all liked it and hopefully there weren't too many mistakes. I wanted to get this out to you guys as soon as possible and tomorrow I'll be too busy to post it since I'll be at the Mad T Party watching my fav Dormouse and March Hare perform! What's install for the next chapter you might ask? Well, there will be a confrontation of sorts and Victoria might (and I stress the word might) just make an appearance gasp!. Anyway, please let me know what you all thought. I love reading the reviews and hearing what you guys have to say.